9 amazing cat stories for International Cat Day
International Cat Day, August 8, is a day to celebrate all things feline. From fostering and adopting to supporting trap-neuter-return efforts, there are a lot of ways to save more cats and all the things we love about them: tiny triangle kitten tails, soft little toe beans, ridiculously miniscule cat teeth, rumbling purrs and all.
As we move toward making the entire country no-kill by 2025, cats need all the help we can give them. Two-thirds of the 625,000 pets killed each year in America's shelters are cats, so saving more kitties is a top priority.
Every cat saved is another story to share and inspire more people to do whatever they can to help the cats in their communities. This year for International Cat Day, we’ve gathered some of our favorite cat stories from the year for your enjoyment and inspiration.
Cat lives his best life on two legs
When Rexie Roo was brought into a shelter in rural Utah, his outlook wasn’t looking great. He was underweight and matted, with both front legs broken. He had no microchip, hadn’t been neutered and had the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). If he didn’t get emergency veterinary care, the next best option was to humanely euthanize him. When the shelter sent out a plea for help, Best Friends in Utah answered.
Ultimately, his front legs had to be amputated in order to save his life. He was on a lot of medication for infection and pain, and needed help getting to the litterbox and learning to walk with just his two back legs. But soon enough, the spirited and very food-motivated cat was up and moving. He was getting around with ease, even jumping (all on his own) onto couches and beds to snuggle. And then, his life got even better: Rexie Roo got adopted.
Cat with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome finds home through social media
When Bubbles, a cat with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome arrived at the Sanctuary, many modifications were made to her private room to keep her safe and comfortable. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a rare condition that affects the production of collagen and causes skin to become extra stretchy, loose and fragile. Corners of the room were covered with pool noodles, plexiglass was put up to protect her from the rough walls and catio fencing, and she had lots of soft bedding and blankets to cushion her favorite spots.
When Cici Ogden, a young woman with the same condition learned about Bubbles through a post on Instagram, she fell in love. The little cat was perfect. Cici brought her home, set up a social media account for her new feline family member and filled it with adorable pictures of their life together.
Paralyzed cat gets moving again
Solarflare might just be the “chillest” cat at the Sanctuary. Before he came to Best Friends, he survived being hit by a car and a broken back, which took away the use of his back legs, as well as the ability to go to the bathroom by himself. But he’s never let his condition get him down, and he’s always excited for a yummy treat or a good scratch behind the ears. He loves snuggling up for a nap with human and cat friends alike, and he loves lounging in the sun for hours. Nothing seems to bother the sweet orange tabby.
Recently, with the help of many different forms of physical therapy, Solarflare is starting to move his long-paralyzed back legs again. Hydrotherapy, laser therapy, electro-acupuncture and foot massages are helping him gain muscle and some control again. He’s enjoying butt scratches, moving his tail around and he’s even going to the bathroom on his own again.
Love for unforgettable cat leads family to foster dozens of kittens
Sometimes we meet animals who leave a profound impression on us ― animals who change our lives, even if we know them only for a short time. For Jill Williams and her family, that special animal was Dexter. They adopted Dexter when he was already 20 years old and he quickly became a huge part of their lives. When he passed two years later, everyone felt the loss. Even the family dogs seemed to feel the missing presence of their cat friend.
When Jill and her son saw a flyer looking for foster families for kittens, her son begged her: “Please? We should do it for Dexter.” It was their love for Dexter that brought them into a life full of late nights and general kitten chaos. In his memory, they’ve helped save and take care of more than 60 kittens, and they don’t have any intention of stopping anytime soon.
Cat charms adopters from way more than six feet away
Mr. Geppetto is a charmer who’s beloved for his playful personality and fondness for long, snuggling naps. But despite his charm, he still was not getting picked by potential adopters visiting the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Los Angeles. When COVID-19 shelter-in-place procedures were announced, Mr. Geppetto, along with many other animals, was moved to foster care. That’s when virtual adoptions through video conference calls were implemented to introduce animals to prospective families.
This was Mr. Geppetto’s chance to shine, and shine he did. When Caroline Anderson and Vince Zalkind (who were married at a marionette theater) looked to Best Friends to find a cat to adopt, they felt Mr. Geppetto was the perfect match. From his name and glowing foster notes to his long history of being overlooked, it was like fate had brought couple and cat together. And when he finally went home, he wasted no time settling in.
Saving cats at Palm Valley Animal Society in Texas
When Star was picked up outside of her south Texas home (where she had lived for more than 10 years) and brought to the nearest animal shelter, it could have meant the end of the beloved white cat’s life. But thanks to a brand-new community cat program, she was returned to her family safe and sound. Not only was she reunited with her human, Mayra, but it resulted in Mayra getting involved with the program to help save even more cats.
Star isn’t the only cat whose life was saved by the Palm Valley Animal Society program. Prior to its inception, the shelter was taking in more than 10,000 cats a year, but only saving about 19% of them. With the new program’s trap-neuter-return efforts, the save rate for cats at Palm Valley since the beginning of 2020 has been above 90%, far beyond expectations set when the program began.
Barn life is the best life for these two cats
For some cats, the ideal life is curling up on the sunny side of the couch and watching birds and squirrels through the window. For others like Meow and Leopold, it’s having the entire world open to explore, dirt to roll in and no walls to hold them back. For those cats, placement as a “working cat” or rodent deterrent (in places like barns and warehouses) is the perfect alternative. It’s a way for them to enjoy the great outdoors, to be well cared for and to have a safe, cozy place to sleep.
Meow has been the resident barn cat at Horse Haven for 20 years, ever since she showed up one day as a black-and-orange blur darting between buildings. After she was humanely trapped, spayed and vaccinated, it was clear she was not interested in the indoor life. Since she already knew her way around Horse Haven and seemed intent on staying, she became part of the team — both as a kind of mascot and as a very good rodent deterrent for the feed room. When a new area was built for Horse Haven a mile down the road, it was time to add another barn cat to the family. And Leopold was just the right guy for the job.
Girl’s toy cats come to life
Eight-year-old Mila Sano has loved cats for as long as anyone can remember. On a trip to Costa Rica with her family, she was busy making friends with every street cat she came across and wishing she could bring each and every one home with her. Of course, the complicated logistics of flying dozens of cats home from another country would prevent that from happening. Instead, her grandparents gifted her two plush cats, who quickly became Mila’s favorite toys.
Mila carried the two stuffed animals everywhere with her. When she started up a cat-sitting business that included making flyers and business cards, her parents took notice of how responsible she was. They surprised her with two real cats that looked so much like her stuffies that it brought them to life. They caught the emotional reveal on camera, and now everyone in the family is in love with the new additions.
Bruce the healer cat
It’s been seven years since Bruce sat in Anne Rowley’s lap at the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City and started licking her hands. The black cat has been with Anne and her family ever since, providing love and comfort even in the most difficult times.
In this touching update, Anne describes Bruce’s healing presence in her family’s life.
Change a cat’s life
By volunteering, fostering or adopting, you can change a cat’s life and make a story all your own.
Photos Lori Fusaro, Molly Wald, Sarah Ause Kichas and courtesy of Jill Williams, Molly Sano and Anne Rowley